Apr 27, 2012

Interview with Elizabeth Norris, author of UNRAVELING!

It’s been a crazy spring break herding mini-mes and stink-eyeing bathing suits, so I thought I‘d head back to the writing cave for another edition of WRITING CAVE CAMP OUT!!!!

I want to welcome to the “cave” (aka my writing room and only clean space in the house) former So Cal, San Diego girl now a NYC pro, Elizabeth Norris!!!!!!
I just finished reading her debut YA novel, UNRAVELING! And if you haven’t picked up a copy yet, well, the only thing that should have stopped you from snatching up this awesomeness were a pack of mini-mes that got crazy with the duct tape and strapped you to the dining room chair… not that I know that from personal experience …

Here’s the low down on UNRAVELING:

Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.
      But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve.   While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

This is a shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.

So without further adieu, please welcome to the campfire ELIZABETH NORRIS!!!!!

I’m gonna just get the East Coast vs. West Coast thing out of the way and ask: where is your most favorite place on earth? *wink-nod* *c’mon So Cal!*
Elizabeth:
That’s tough. There are so many places that I’ve been and really loved.  I would say right now that out of anywhere I’ve ever been, I love Manhattan most. I love that I can walk anywhere I need to, and that there are so many wonderful people and so many interesting things to see.  It’s hard to imagine living anywhere else.
Given the $4.00 a gallon price tag on gas in Mission Beach, I’ve gotta admit, walking options ... they're a plus.  And, you do have Max’s amazing *cash only* Italian restaurant, Rock ‘n New Year’s Eve and Broadway … okay, Manhattan is a solid place to live.  Manhattan is also a lot closer to Bangor, Maine --where one of my all-time favorite author’s, Stephen King.
Speaking of Mr. King, Stephen, —because once you've scared someone to the point of being afraid of the dark, you’re on a first name basis— he once said, “Fiction is a lie. The good fiction is the truth inside the lie.”  In UNRAVELING, is there a character, a scene, a look that came from a real life moment?

Yes. The emotion in certain scenes comes straight from a few real life moments. Janelle’s feelings for Ben are almost exactly how I had been feeling about my relationship at the time, and there are a few conversations between Ben and Janelle that are strikingly similar to conversations I remember having.

I like to call it deja vu in print or closure, depending on which ex-boyfriend you’re vilifying. 
Was there a scene in UNRAVELING that was the hardest to write?
Someone close to Janelle dies in the middle of the book. The scenes after that were incredibly hard for me to right. She was devastated, and I really wanted to make sure that showed, but at the same time, I didn’t want it to be too excessive. And the plot had to keep moving forward. It was also really emotional for me to write. I teared up a number of times while I was writing it.

I teared up, nay, sobbed with snot bubbles at the end of UNRAVELING.  I’m absolutely NOT going to spoil the ending, but girlfriend, holy blankets!  Please, tell me there’s a book two and, if you don’t want bodily harm by way of gummy bears, I’ll need a hint about the storyline! 

The sequel is called Unbreakable and it will be out in 2013. It starts four months after the end of Unraveling and Janelle gets swept up in a new case. We get to see more of Ben, Barclay, Cecily, and Janelle.

Ben *sigh-swoon*!  It’s gotta be the beach sunsets that get me every time.  Being from the land of amazing sunsets and beach blanket bingo,  what is the best girly hopeless romantic scene in a movie that makes you audibly sigh and simultaneously envy tilt your head?
Yes, that sappy.
For me, of course it's a John Hughes movie. The scene in SIXTEEN CANDLES when Jake shows up at church and points to Samantha and says, “Yeah, you!” … I just sighed, again. 

The scene in THE NOTEBOOK where Allie goes to visit Noah, and she’s wearing that blue dress. They talk and catch up and take a boat out on the lake, and it starts to rain, and they argue and then have that wonderful kiss everyone has been waiting for.

Those wonderful kiss moments always get me too.  When I was a kid, my mom told me to stop kissing the T.V. every time Danny Zuko from GREASE came on.  Please don’t let me be the only one to share an embarrassing childhood/teen celebrity crush. 

Leonardo DiCaprio, first from ROMEO AND JULIET and then from TITANIC. I was all about him.

Thank you, Leo!!! Always dying for his woman!  Before we embarrass ourselves anyfurther let’s play the speed round.

Ready. Set. Go!  
                 black or white?
                 Black

                dog or cat?
                Dog

               cake or cookies?
                 Cookies

                coffee or soda?
                 Coffee

                naughty or nice?
                Nice
                cup ½ full or ½ empty?
                 Empty
               
               summer or winter?
                Summer
               
               favorite g-rated swear word?
               I hardly ever swore until I became a teacher, and then being around high school students who swore all the time, I picked up on a lot of it. Now I’m not sure any of my swear words are g rated.
Okay, I’ll give you the last one as a bye and loan you my HOLY BLANKETS curse word.

I’m not sure if you could tell, but it’s Friday night camp out downstairs for the husband and the  mini-mes, this means I can totally sneak ANYONE in for the Writing Cave Part-ay!  

                Who would come?
                 The cast of Game of Thrones

                Which is just perfect. What would they bring?
                 Stuff to make s’mores

                Hold on!  They’d have to bring the dragons to roast the s’mores, because that would be Aaaaaa-WESOME!!!! Sorry, what junk food must we have?      
                  Tortilla chips and guacamole
Game of Thrones cast, with their dragons roasting s’mores and gorging ourselves on tortilla chips and guacamole?!  That’s my kind of camp out!!!!


We’re about out of time, I hear tiny footsteps climbing the stairs.  Let me ask you two last questions.  What is the best advice you would pass along to up and coming writers?
Write because you love it and don’t ever stop. There are a lot of highs and lows when you write a book and a lot more on the road to publication. I had to learn to savor the highs and let the lows roll off my back.  

And finally, once we’ve devoured UNRAVELING, What two books would you recommend to your readers?

I recently read and loved BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood and SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo.

Elizabeth, thank you soo much for stopping by the Writing Cave.
Be sure to follow Elizabeth on Twitter, and Facebook
I'm also going to be giving away two, -- YES, TWO!!!!!-- copies of UNRAVELING!
Fill out the rafflecopter questions and away you go. Contest ends May 1, 2012 and US lovelies only.
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway I'm going to walk Elizabeth out, but in the mean time, I'll leave you with the UNRAVELING trailer. Also, be sure to click the UNRAVELING banner to your right for tomorrow's stop on the tour, Literary Explorations!

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